050. Week 7. Where we spend time in the northeast with a coast line just as rugged as any seen so far…
Day 43. Saturday 25th April 2009. Anzac Day.
I will start this week by explaining and apologising for lack of photos. Due to terrible weather I took few photos this week.
I must confess I forgot this day of remembrance when we first woke. After a night of heavy rain the sunlight appeared and we moved out from Scottsdale to Bridport, that final 20 Klms which eluded us last night. The day was clear bright and sunny.
The bus has a leak, which must be exacerbated when we are on uneven ground in heavy rain. The rain came in around the window seals in the rear window and the rear side window. Our bed area. Of course a corner of our bedding got wet, as did a number of towels and tea towels we used to try to stem the leak. Our only thought on this sunny day was to get to Bridport and get all the bedding dried out. On arrival we discovered the mattress was wet as well. While we took up three clotheslines with our washing and drying, we tuned the TV to the Anzac Day march in Hobart. After lunch (lunch was a dozen fat fresh oysters we bought in St.Helens before we left yesterday) we started to put all the dry stuff back in the bus and planned to take a walk along the foreshore. By now clouds had rolled in and we were only 200 metres into our walk when the first big ponderous drops began to fall. I had taken the precaution of putting additional awnings over the exposed windows and “100 mile an hour tape” over the window seals. We are camped on a slope overlooking the bay and an old jetty. That is all the exploring we have had time to do. The rain has driven us inside. The window seals are still weeping so I have now put the magic tape inside as well as extending the tape outside. Any further exploration or sightseeing in the rain is pointless so we are restricted to staying indoors. The wind has picked up and is straining the awning so we have installed a couple of tie downs but we will need to keep an eye on the weather. The sea is picking up. Whereas on arrival the waves were more like a gentle “lap lap”, on the shore, they are now genuine breakers crashing on the beach.
Day 44. Sunday 26th April 2009.
Wake to rain and wind. Weather forecast is for stronger winds up to gale force. Victoria just across the Tasman already has a number of weather alerts in place. More rain is forecast. During a lull in the rain we pack up and head to Georgetown. Last night we received an e-mail from the web site Friends ReUnited. It seems a high school friend George Curtis has tried to contact me. I have not seen George since about 5 years after we left High School. We met while surfing at a place called Pebbly Beach near Cronulla. I responded with a quick reply expecting I might hear from George sometime in the future. Imagine my surprise when I got call from him about thirty minutes later! He now lives at Buladellah NSW and we have arranged to meet on our way home.
The rain is heavier now. Just getting back into the bus after lunch at Georgetown leaves us both sodden. Even the footpaths are running with water. We learn that around 70mm of rain has fallen in the afternoon. We drive to Kayena to catch up with an ex workmate John Latchford and his wife Annie. They are not home and in this rain we must find somewhere to stay for the night. At the end of their street on the Tamar river is a gated property. This is the home of Rebecca Gibney from Packed to the Rafters on Channel 7.
Exploring is out of the question in this weather. We drive into Launceston and “glory be”, it has stopped raining so we find a CP to stay for the night. By 4pm we see a little blue sky in the distance. That has to be a good sign. A further indulgence from me. Since arriving in Tassie the drier air has played havoc with my sinuses so I am constantly congested and plagued by a headache, sneezing and inside my nostrils feel quite raw. We have a doctors appointment at 8pm, “in town”. The good doctor has confirmed I have sinusitis along with hay fever and I now have antibiotics and a once a day nasal spray. I can also share Donnis Claratyne for the hay fever. Sigh. Day 45. Monday 27th April 2009. The day dawns sunny with a cool wind blowing but, hallelujah, no rain since arriving in Launceston. It snowed on nearby mountains last night and we can see the dusting of snow on Mt.Barrow. John & Annie called, they have to come into town this morning so we have arranged to meet them at the waterfront for coffee. After collecting my prescriptions we are on our way. I want to stay at Mole Creek and visit nearby King Solomon’s Caves.
At Westbury we stop at a maze for lunch and I reluctantly agree to enter the maze with Donnis. The object is to find a raised platform in the middle of the maze. Easy said I. Yeah right. We did eventually find the centre then had to find our way out.
That turned out to be easier but the maze owner had heard Donnis say “oh no, we are at the centre again” so decided to come and rescue us. In fact I was already standing at the exit when Donnis mistakenly made her comment. Now the owner is searching for us and we are back inside the tearooms ready to leave.
On the way to Mole Creek we pass through the quaint town of Deloraine with some houses built right on the footpath. We cannot find the CP at MC and decide to turn back to Deloraine. The temperature inside the bus dropped as we got closer to MC. It seems it snowed in the town this morning. Back at Deloraine we are now in the CP on the banks of Meander River. Snow to lower than 400m is predicted for tonight. We started a walk this afternoon but bumped into a couple who are from Cairns and after a chat abandoned the walk as we have a chook in the oven to rescue before it becomes carbon. We can see the snow clouds on the mountains and can in fact see the falls but the tops of the mountains are obscured by the cloud.
We have travelled in excess of 6,500 klms since leaving home 7 weeks ago. Fuel consumption has been topsy turvy with a low of 3.9 klms per litre in Tassie with mostly grinding uphill work to a high of 10.5klms per litre whilst running between towns on the west coast on mainly flat roads. Day 46. Tuesday 28th April 2009. Woke in the dark. It was 5am so I trotted off to the boys room. Hmmm! The grass is crackling under my feet! Later when the sun starts to light the area I notice the grass is covered in a layer of frost. In fact anything outside is covered in frost including the rubber mats outside our door. The folding chairs I left outside are also frozen stiff. Steam is rising from the river! The ducks are swimming around, quacking, and impervious to the cold. They loved our potato peelings from last night. Now that is recycling! No huge plans for today but as we are leaving we notice snow on the mountains around Table Mountain. The road we had planned to take to Sheffield is closed for the Targa Rally. This is a time trial race around some of the mountainous, twisted, steep and curved roads, main and secondary. We continued on our way to Devonport, stopping at the Ashmore cheese factory. We bought some. Their ploughman’s lunch was only $10 but less than half what the Holy Cow supplied. We parked in Devonport, collected mail, lunched overlooking the harbour then headed out to find Tasmazia, another maze place. Found it but rejected the $16 each entry fee. We then drove down to the Barrington Lake International Rowing Course. Impressive but the exceedingly steep and winding road down to the lake needs a lot of repair work.
Finally we reached Sheffield the town of murals.
Impressive murals they are too. Everywhere in town has a view of the range of mountains including Cradle. The main theme of the murals was of course the mountains and their early exploration. The sun stayed with us all day but driving to towns above sea level we could feel temperature changes as we drove. Max temperature today was 13.7 with an expected minimum overnight of 3. Frost warnings are in place. Most roads around here have warnings in icy conditions. We will be leaving in 24 hours. Returned to Devonport and booked into the Abel Tasman CP which is on the river and you can see the Spirit of Tasmania arriving or leaving. We walked to the beachside at 8pm and watched the ship leaving port. This was an impressive sight.
Day 47. Wednesday 29th April 2009.
It is departure day today. The day has dawned fine n sunny. Sea looks calm from where we are. We take a drive towards Burnie but only to have a look at a place called Leith, which also happens to have Penguin viewing area. No Penguins of course but the area has nice n neat houses, mostly on the seaside. We poked around shopping centres and went for little walks in Devonport. My mobile battery discharges quickly these days. It is more than 2 years old. Two places I went to cannot sell me the battery I want. Do not keep them in stock. I can wait until we get back to the mainland. It is only 4pm but we have no plans to see anything else so decide to get in line for the ship. When we arrive there are only 6 vehicles in front of us. We spend the afternoon reading or watching the many trucks delivering goods to the ship then the prime mover leaving. We are in our little cabin just after 7pm and decide to eat smorgasbord. Then off to the movies. I fall asleep within 10 minutes so leave Donnis to watch the movie while I shower and go to bed. During the night, although the seas are calm, I wake feeling unwell. Not seasickness. Hmmm! Something I ate? Unusual for me to be so tired I fall asleep in a movie theatre. (it was a Richard Gere movie so that could explain) I feel quite ill and my stomach is growling and suddenly I am off to the bathroom. Later I wake again feeling unwell again and decide to go for a walk around the decks and let the cold wind play on my face. Then back to the bathroom again. Later I am woken by the ships announcer saying we are coming to the dock. Off to the bathroom again. Day 48. Thursday 30th April 2009. We elect not to have breakfast on board. Donnis does not want whatever is available and I am too ill to care. When we are called, it is time to go to the garage deck. The ship docked at 7am. Our tyres rolled onto the streets of Melbourne at 7.07 am. I drive to get away from the traffic but am so unwell. We finally find an old hotel and pull into the carpark off the main road. We have breakfast. At least Donnis has breakfast. I struggle to drink a cup of hot sweet tea. Our friend Merrilyn is overseas but we drive to her house, park in the drive and I crawl into bed and sleep in the sunlight. It seems this is the coldest Melbourne morning in 35 years. Did I care! I was warm, cosy and within moments asleep. When I wake a couple of hours later my stomach is still doing loops, the headache which was first noticed when I woke on the ship, is still with me only stronger. My eyes are watery and I am having trouble breathing through my nose. Any plans we have for today are cancelled. We obtain a key to the house (after getting the OK from Merrilyns daughter) Donnis does some washing while I stay in the bus in the sun, sleeping. Later I wake to a cool Melbourne arvo. I am no longer in sunlight. The cool drives me indoors where I eat a bowl of soup and a slice of toast. The headache is still with me only now it is a banging inside my head so I drag out some Panadeine Forte I have been carrying around for a long time, shower and off to bed. No photos today. Tomorrow has to be a better day.
Day 49. Friday 1st May 2009.
Still feeling unwell and Donnis has a headache as well. We went out for a drive about 11am with the plan to visit a couple of motorhome and caravan sales yards. Due to the Melbourne traffic a round trip of less than 100 klms has taken 5 hours including looking at rigs. Apart from a light breakfast and a cracker and ginger ale I have not eaten all day. We bought some Chinese take away for dinner and I managed to eat some of it, eagerly in fact. The headache is still with me. Tomorrow we plan to travel over to Wilsons Promontory. Perhaps the opportunity for some photos will return.